Justice and just action in Plato’s Republic
This chapter considers what must be the first detailed and systematic account of virtue — or a virtue — which does treat the agent as theoretically fundamental, and that is Plato's theory of justice in the Republic. Accepting that that theory is indeed, as the modern jargon has it, ‘agent-centred’, the chapter first considers what sort of priority Plato assigns to the notion of the just agent, and then reviews the question of how reasonably Plato can claim that what he offers is indeed a theory of justice. It suggests that whilst he can withstand the challenge sometimes levelled against him that he merely changes the subject when seeking to defend the practical rationality of being just, nevertheless his theory is ultimately marred by his specification of what it is to act justly.
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